Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Following God's Lead

We are learning as a team to trust the Lord and follow His lead while we are here in Bulawayo. We are learning to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" as 1 Peter 3:15 tell us to do. There have been times that we have been asked to share a Bible study when we hadn't had anything planned. Those times are teaching us to be always be prepared even when we don't think we should. People always need the truth. God is also teaching us that things might not work out as we think, but things always go according to God's plan.  

There have been times when things haven't gone according to plan, but we have seen God work in those times.Even when we don't understand, we can still trust and obey and know that God will work it all out. We have been reading through the book of Acts, and the early church is helping us to see that we can obey the Lord's leading even when it doesn't make sense. In the end, there is a purpose for it. I am learning that God will work all things out even when they don't make sense or work like we think they should. 
  • Please pray that our team will trust God and will be obedient even when things don't work out like we think they should. 
  • Pray that God would work out all the details here and help us to trust Him more. 
-Heather 


Peace Only

Salaam Alaikum from West Africa!

If there is one thing I have learned about the culture here it is that the people love peace. While learning language, we have been told if we don't know what to say, say "Jamm Rekk," or "Peace Only." Seriously. That is the answer to literally everything. How is work? Peace only. How did you sleep? Jamm Rekk.

So much talk of peace has been a shocking reminder to me that we can talk about peace all day, but cannot know true peace without God. Here I am, in a country full of people who don't know Jesus but want peace. And what do they say when you try and tell them about the one and only peace? Jamm Rekk.

It is a paradox that has frustrated our team beyond explanation, but also reminds us of why we are here. We have the answer to their search for peace. God never said "convince." He said "go" and "tell." So that is what we do.

Prayer-
Please pray that the Muslims of West Africa will come to know Jesus and the peace that only He can bring. 
Pray that our team will find joy in the obedience of telling, and not grow weary when people reject truth.

I have said these things to you so that I'm me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart: I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
                                                                                     
Jamm Rekk,
Chloe

Disillusioned

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13

Team of the Day: Spice Island
Country of the Day: Southeast Asia

Pray for the lost to be disillusioned with their gods. Pray for team members to clearly and boldly share the Truth of the Gospel with the lost. Pray for the lost to be set free by God's truth.

Strongholds

This has been a busy week for us, full of joy and frustrations. We have had the opportunity to share the full truth, with a response time, with about 11 people this week. Though many of those we were led to were open and even said that these things could be or are true, they fall back into Islam saying they still follow it. We are joyful that we are seeing an increase of openness to truth, but frustration comes when people fall back into their Islamic "safety net." 

One instance of the Father leading us to the open is when we met Pak S. We were prayer walking in our neighborhood when we came across him at a mosque. He was happy to talk to us and eagerly invited us to the steps of the mosque. We didn't share the truth with him there but I had the opportunity to meet with him again. The next time I saw him I was able to share the full truth with Pak S, and he believed it to be true, but that it was not the only way. He believed his bridge prayers were sufficient for his salvation, even though he is not sure of his salvation. He wants to hear more, so we are trusting the Father to work in his heart.

We believe there is power in the name of Jesus to break down the strongholds we are seeing here. The enemy is trying its best to drag these people into the pits, but with fervent prayer in the name of Jesus these people can break free of their chains.

  • Pray that the spirit continues to lead us daily
  • Pray that strongholds created by Islam will be demolished
  • Pray that mosques here will become isolated buildings of the past
  • Pray that God will create an awakening to the truth of Jesus here in SE Asia

- Michael


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not contained in a figure

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything...'in him we life and move and have our being'...we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man..." Acts 17:22-34.
Even though seeing the different temples and such is an amazing experience, it is important to remember that the one true God needs nothing from us because he is all-powerful, nor can he be contained in figures. His power and love is shown through his Son Jesus Christ. 

-Katie

Riverboat Supervisor Update

See a current update from the Riverboat Evangelism teams field supervisor. Pictures too!!

There is great power in the name of Jesus!

From the very start of this wonderful trip, my team and I have experienced the inconceivable power of the Lord unlike we ever have before. Not only has God been hearing our prayers, but He has never failed to answer our prayers as long as we have been on this beautiful island. God is so faithful to us even though we are so incredibly undeserving of the countless blessings that he has granted us.
            
This past Monday my team and I went to L Village. We chose to stay in this particular village so that we could share the Word with a man named D. This young man has been a Muslim since birth. However, for the past year he has been extremely receptive to the Gospel. He consistently asks about Jesus and seeks to learn what the Bible says about Him.
            
Wednesday morning Aaron and Johann decided to go for a hike up the mountain with D. I was unable to go on the hike due to an injury the prior day. The whole time my team was gone, I was praying expectantly that the Lord would grant my team an opportunity to share the Word of God with D. Upon the team’s arrival back to L village they were excited to tell me about how the Lord had presented them with an opportunity to share the Gospel. The Word of God had pierced through D’s heart and he was eager to learn more about the Bible.
            
Later that night, we heard a little girl crying out in pain from inside her room. We asked D who she was and what was wrong. He told us that it was his younger sister and that she had gotten an ear infection that was causing her great pain. After hearing this, we then asked if we could pray in Jesus’ name over her for healing. She was hurting too bad to leave her room so we prayed right outside the door for her. During our time of prayer, we felt a supernatural presence come over us. The Holy Spirit was moving through us greater than it ever had before. D saw what we were doing for his younger sister and he was very grateful.
            
The next morning, we woke up for breakfast and asked D how his little sister was feeling because we know that an ear infection causes a lot of pain. D went on to tell us about how his sister was feeling “great!” Shortly after, we noticed the young girl playing with a group of her friends and we immediately realized what had happened. Even with modern medicine, which this village doesn’t have easy access to, it can take several days to get over the infection and to ease the pain of ear infections. Despite the lack of medicine this girl was healed just hours after our prayer. Some may consider this a simple coincidence but my team knows otherwise.

The Lord heard our prayer and sent the Holy Spirit to heal this young child. This amazing act of God is only a small example of how powerful He truly is. Our daily prayer is that God shows Himself to the people of this island like He did on that wonderful day. We ask that everyone would continue to pray for this mission because the Lord is answering our prayers in ways that we can’t even fathom. Praise God for His remarkable power!


-Caleb

2017 Take it to the Rim - The Harvest

The Barangay of I is a bountiful harvest; those who have lifted us up to the Lord have brought us to many people of peace, love, and interest.

Darwin, previously mentioned, has been baptized, and is referred to by his friends in school as "Pastor Darwin", a sign of his outwardness of faith even when we are not with him. Praise that he is such as a strong believer in such as a small amount of time, and continue to pray for his growth.

New into our daily fold are Jasmine, Michelle, Ronald, Peter, and Lino.

Jasmine, a Catholic woman raising two children while her husband works overseas, came to know the Lord this week and it appears her salvation is real, though only her, God, and the Devil know her true heart. She is seeking a genuine relationship with Jesus, and we are using the Word to speak to her the truth to her questions about purgatory, baptism, and praying to anyone besides God. Pray she would grow in her faith and that it would be true. Praise that she has come to know Him!

Pray for Lino who has prayed to receive Christ. He seeks a relationship with Christ and discipleship from other believers, pray that he would grow in his faith. Praise for an answered prayer request of his - after roughly two weeks of drought, we prayed for him in the name of Jesus that his crops would receive rain, and it rained that night!

Michelle, the aunt of Darwin, is one of that many family members that Darwin has in I. He has 56 cousins in the barangay alone! Pray we could effectively minister to Michelle and the family of Darwin, imagine if the Lord consecrated an entire family of this magnitude to Him, how gospel saturated the community would be!

Finally there are Ronald and Peter, two brilliant Engineer brothers with English as good as ours. They are not saved, but are asking all the questions that come with a convicted heart. They invited us for dinner and we explained the Gospel to them for several hours - the food was great! Pray they can come to know Jesus, because they are scared to turn their lives over to a God they cannot see, a rational fear.

Pray continually for our team, we've avoided physical injury and sickness, but the mental and emotional fatigue is apparent. 
Pray that we never grow content with what the Lord has already done for us, that we can constantly seek and disciple.

I Have This Hope

Bangkok, Thailand. A city with more 7-Eleven convenience stores than trash cans, where traffic lights are a suggestion, and where there are escalators that go up but not down.
The past week has been filled with blistered feet, cheap food, getting acquainted with the city, and helping the City English Project with what many would consider tedious tasks: passing out thousands of promotional material in the humidity of Bangkok, babysitting missionary kids, and organizing for the coming weeks. 

I have learned the importance of smiling to every Thai you meet even if you don’t receive a smile in return. 
I have realized how crucial it is to be joyful through all circumstances. 
I have been reminded that the Lord uses the “small things” for his glory in a way that I may not fully understand in my short time here.
Bangkok, Thailand. A city where millions attempt to appease evil spirits with food and offerings, where temples and shrines fill every corner, and where prostitution is rampant.
Every time I walk the streets, I see the “spirit houses,” and I am reminded of the grip Satan has on these people. I pass the Hindu temple, and I watch as little boys and girls follow their parents into a place that will never give them life and peace. I see desperation on the Thai people’s faces as they fall to their knees before powerless idols. I see their pain; I see their suffering. And I realize that I will never be able to erase these images from my mind even if I wanted to.
Bangkok, Thailand. A city where people are oblivious to the fact that they are walking in darkness, where the language barrier is difficult to cross, and where most have never heard the Gospel.
I feel the frustration with not being able to speak the Thai language. Every day, I see an elderly Thai woman; no matter where I go, she is there. Since day one, I have been burdened for her, but the language barrier between us is thick and high. The language barrier follows me wherever I go. It has been there as my team and I teach English and try to share the Gospel. I have seen the confusion on their faces and felt it mirrored on my own as we desperately try to understand each other. 
But I have this hope.
I love this city. I love these people. I love teaching them English and forming relationships with them. And I take comfort in the fact that the Lord loves them even more than I do. I can see His relentless pursuit of them; I see Him drawing them to Him. He is moving all around us- opening doors in allowing us to teach English and share the Gospel in the temples, in massage parlors, and to Buddhist monks who have willingly said that they want to learn about the Lord.
I have this hope because I know that the power of the Lord is much bigger than my inability to speak Thai and much stronger than the influence of the Enemy here. I have this hope because I know that even when I leave, the work will still continue. I have this hope because seeds are being planted and sowed in this country. I have this hope because He has reminded me that He is always present and moving even in the “small things.” I have this hope because I know that the Lord is still the king of these people even if they don’t know it yet.
If I’m honest, I have not prayed enough for these people. I see the need and think of it often, but I must remember that the Lord covets the prayers of those speaking on the behalf of those who do not know him.
So please continue to pray.
Pray for the power of the enemy to be broken here. 
Pray for hearts to be opened to the truth. 
Pray for the walls of these temples to be destroyed and replaced with the presence of the Lord.
-Jennifer

Preparing & Planting

Sharing the Gospel can be compared to the planting process. The preparing of the field is an intense process. The seeds are planted one by one. It can be hard, lonely work. Encouragement comes from working together throughout the process. 








Even on a Day Off

After a long week of shifts at the clinic, we Mercy Midwives took full advantage of our day off! We decided to take a boat ride out to Isla Reta, an island about an hour off the coast of Davao. We spent most of the day enjoying God's beautiful creation and were instantly reminded of His power and majesty as we stepped into the bluest water we have ever laid eyes on. We spent time recapping the week and studying team time material. 

As beautiful and fun as that beach was, the best part of the day was the hour and a half boat ride back. On the beach we briefly met 3 Indian boys who are in Davao for medical school. We ended up sitting in front of them on the ride home. After a bit of small talk, we asked them about their religion. They are Hindu, but said they were not fully committed to it. We asked them what they knew about Christianity and it was evident that they needed further clarification. Through exploring their beliefs and how they compared to ours, we were able to share personal testimony, scripture, and answer many questions that they had. They were all very interested in what we had to say and they asked really good questions! Before we left we decided to pick a time to meet up with them again, later in the week. In preparation, we bought them Bibles and highlighted key verses that answered many of the questions they posed. Unfortunately, they did not show up for our second meeting. 

These things can be a bit discouraging in the moment, but we know that the Lord is Sovereign and that we simply have to be faithful in sowing seeds, even if we don't see the fruit they produce. Please pray that the awesome conversation we had on the boat will make wheels turn in VJ, Parti, and Barne's minds and hearts. We are praying that they will have questions and seek out answers! Maybe somehow we'll run into them again! 

It is truly humbling to our team to see the Lord move, even on a day off. When we are faithful in the small things, God can use them for great things!

-Mercy Midwives

Engage Cambodia: Here and Loving it

We have completed our second week here in Cambodia. It has been so cool seeing how faithful the Lord is. We are teaching English to the Cami students, and have been building relationships with our students. Our host family has been a huge blessing to our lives as well. They have opened their house to us and have made us feel so at home. It has been awesome living with them, and growing together in Christ. 

Some of our team members are teaching at a local pre-school, and others are teaching at a local church. All of the team members are teaching English classes at the village where we are staying. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have the opportunity to teach the Bible at a far village. On Sundays, we go to the local church then teach an English class at a far village. It has been amazing seeing how the Lord can work through the language barriers and culture differences.


Prayer Requests: 

  • Continued opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Cambodia.
  • Our host family, so that we can bless them with our stay
  • Good health 

     

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tell me about your experiences with God

Hello from the land of smiles! (aka Thailand).We have officially been in country for two weeks, and time is flying by. Our team is doing well and we have already become fluent in Thai. Ha! I wish, but, hey, we’re learning more and more every day! Our translator for the summer is living with us and while we are learning more Thai, she is learning more English.

So far in our ministry it has been our prayer to find people that we can clearly communicate with in conversation, and we experienced that this week.

During our ministry one night my teammate and I met a girl named Oum who works at a massage parlor. She is Buddhist but she was open to conversation and hearing the gospel. She asked “What kind of Christians are you?” That question came by surprise, but it opened a door for us to explain how beautiful the gospel is. She has heard about Christianity and other religions but she doesn’t know what is true and what isn’t. She then preceded to ask “Tell me about your experiences with God”, again, this was a great opportunity for me and my teammate to share how God has worked in our own lives.

After that first night, I decided to go back and see her. I learned more about her and her family, and the massage parlor agreed to let us come back every Thursday to eat lunch with them and teach some English lessons. I pray that this will lead to a closer relationship with Oum, and I will have the chance to tell her more about a God that is not a statue, but a God who desires a relationship with her.

Prayer requests
  • That we are able to build relationships with Oum and the others at the massage parlor
  • For patience in communicating
  • For distractions to be removed when we are sharing the gospel
  • For boldness from the Holy Spirit when sharing with others

-Abbey

Sending Them On

This week was quite the treat. We were able to have a full week of tutoring but the best part of the week was Friday and not because we didn't have school. Friday was a child's "Gotcha Day" which means that the child leaves the children's home with their forever family (adopted parents). These only happen a handful of times each year and we were able to be a part of it.

The new parents were greeted by everyone and then a quick lunch before the ceremony. The ceremony consisted of musical numbers by the children and reading letters written to the little girl and her family. These children are so loved by the staff here. They do not say they are loosing a child but gaining a two new members to their family (the parents). The children also wrote letters to the the little girl--their words were short and simple but these children know what true friendship is. One lady in whom I have learned a lot from in the last two weeks said it perfectly in that raising children is hard but it is also a privilege. Seeing her faith in how she trusts the Lord in how he hand picks each of these children's new families is incredible. (Jeremiah 29:11 being shown in her life everyday in her love for them).

This coming weeks please pray for the children who are still here who long for a family that they will be content and continue to learn more about the Father who has perfect timing.

-Alex
Kids Lovin' & Learnin'

Close to God

For the first 3 weeks of our time in West Africa the people here have been observing Ramadan, which is a month of fasting during the day to commemorate the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. During this time "spiritual consequences" are also amplified, which leads to an increase of prayer and giving of alms. 

From a Christian perspective, it is easy to balk at the idea that a month of good deeds would be enough to earn us salvation. We can sit back and wonder that so many people have tried in futility to get it right on their own. This week, however, I have come to see this as an encouragement for the ministry here. Ramadan is visible proof that the people around me, the ones that I have come to serve this summer, are just trying to do the best they can to be close to God. And we have the answer. We know that relationship with God is only achieved through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, "All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." The people here are hungry to know God. We are here to point them to Jesus, and hope and pray that God would be revealed to them. 

Prayer- 
Please pray that as Ramadan is ending, the people will look for God and be receptive to the truth. 

Boldness to Overcome Fear

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love & self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Team of the Day: Farm Community Intern
Country of the Day: Southeast Asia

Pray for team members to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in word and deed as they share the Gospel. Pray they would be emboldened by the power of the Spirit dwelling in them.

Chicago: Weekend Update

This week was full of a lot more emails, but we were also able to get out from behind the computer and meet several people for in-person interviews. We traveled out of the city to the suburbs this week to meet a Muslim Background Believer seeking asylum in America. He and his wife became missionaries in the Middle East and North Africa, but they had to leave the area because of intense threats and persecution. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring because he cannot wait to get back on his feet here in the area so he can faithfully share the gospel with Muslims in his community.

We also went to an Iftar buffet this week in the area we're working in this summer. Some of our other friends here on a mission trip met a Pakistani immigrant when they were here two years ago, so a group of us was able to visit one of his favorite restaurants with him. Becky and I loved getting to meet other members of the community and start to form relationships through which the gospel can hopefully be shared later this summer.

Becky and I with our new Pakistani friend and our other friends here doing ministry at Iftar
With Ramadan ending, Becky and I are praying that we will be able to meet more members of the community and share the gospel with them in the next week.

Please pray for the following:
  • our friend to be able to continue his ministry here in America
  • his ministry back in the Middle East to be continued through those he discipled
  • our Pakistani friend to see the love of Christ through us, and his heart be opened to Him
  • the Holy Spirit to work in people's hearts in the area so that they would be open to hearing the gospel 
Sending love from Sweet Home Chicago,
Sydney

If I leave my faith....

This week we had the privilege of going to L village.  This village is special to me because this was the first village I visited when I was in SEA last summer.  I had the honor of meeting and catching up with many people there, especially D, our host.  D is one my favorite people in SEA, and he is an extremely receptive individual.  When you think of someone who is searching to know the truth of God’s Word in a climate that has absolutely zero believers, that is him.  In fact, the village mosque is right down the street from his house.

We prayed before & during our stay in L village that the Lord would present opportunities to share the Gospel with D.  The first opportunity presented itself on Wednesday when Johann & I went hiking with D to a mountain village. During the hike on Wednesday, the Lord gave us the opportunity we had earnestly been praying for that week.  We talked with D for a long time and over the course of conversation he made the comment he wanted to see in the Bible where Jesus said he was God.  We both eagerly told him we would love to show him.

The next night we were sitting outside eating dinner, and he still had not mentioned going over the Bible.  I had been waiting for him to bring up going over the Bible and discovering the truth about Jesus, but he still had not said anything.  As I finished eating, I began to think about this and how I would bring it up naturally to him.  My thought had barely finished in my mind and I heard D ask if we could show him in the Bible where Jesus said he was God.  I cannot tell you how amazing it was to hear those words from him.  All I could think was to praise The Living God!  He hears our very thoughts and is always in control.

We read the scriptures in English as he read in Bahasa and they specifically answered his questions.  This went on for 5 hours.  He did not make a profession of faith but he is so close to becoming a believer.  My team and I believe that to be a fact.  The last comment D made will give a clear indication of where his heart is at, “If I leave my faith, I will be punished by my religion.  Our heart breaks for D because he lives in a home that is literally next door to all of his family, who are not Christians.  He knows if he follows Jesus he will lose everything he loves.  God is moving in his life and we are praying for Jesus to show D that His love is sweeter than anything we could ever experience on earth.  

Please join us in praying for D.


-Aaron